Michael Keaton Hosts SNL: Watch Video of the Best and Worst Sketches

This just in: There are still a few scenarios in which Batman cannot save the day.

And alas, this week’s installment of Saturday Night Live — hosted by erstwhile Caped Crusader and recent Oscar nominee for Birdman Michael Keaton — drove home the point in a sometimes deeply uncomfortable way.

Keaton managed a few laughs here and there — his opening monologue fending off Batman/Beetlejuice fanboys Bobby Moynihan and Taran Killam was decent, and the demented final Easter-themed sketch worked mainly due to the host’s unhinged commitment (as well as an adorable baby chick). But the writing was so dismal in other instances that not even the entire Justice League could’ve done much about it.

Below, my picks for the night’s best and worst:

Keaton’s serial-killer-y delivery as a dude going through the contents of an Easter basket — a sequel of sorts to an Ed Norton Halloween sketch, as one of my astute Twitter followers reminded me — was equal parts chilling and chuckle-inducing. Kate McKinnon and “a child chicken” added to the weirdness, but it was Keaton’s mix of the rageful (calling a candy Santa an “attention whore”) and the ridiculous (admitting his preference for hollow chocolate bunnies due to their sexual availability) that made this one hard to dislike.

A 1990 “Church of Neurotology” music video — updated with chyrons about the grim fate of many of its participants — wasn’t subtle about its target (is it really masking anything to refer to Dianetics and Diametrics?). But “where are they now?” zingers like “in a hole,” “thrown off a boat” and “blackmails gay actors” gave this spoof enough teeth to deliver some true comedic bite.

Keaton looked occasionally embarrassed playing an ad-agency CEO sitting in on a pitch meeting and making inappropriate suggestions about the need for “huge knockers” and boner jokes. For no apparent reason, Keaton’s character was also bleeding profusely from the stomach — due to a navel-piercing gone wrong — but this absolute turd of a sketch bled out long before the star’s grisly wound brought the scene to a mercifully abrupt end.

Keaton and Cecily Strong played an “inventor” husband and a supportive wife championing his ideas for products like a “Smart Couch” that places a tube up a person’s rectum — in order for the furniture to identify and greet the guest in question. Since typing the prior sentence has prompted a new wave of shame for not promptly switching channels, I’m gonna cut this description short. (Side note: I need to tip my hat to Kate McKinnon’s “We should probably be going: We left our baby in the tub,” as the sole genuine LOL moment in the entire sketch.)

Your turn. What did you think of Michael Keaton’s SNL hosting gig? Take out poll below, then sound off in the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. James says:

    Thank you for thinking for me. I’m always SO embarrassed the next day when I find out I liked the wrong sketches. Hopefully now I won’t have to move anymore!

  2. Stacy says:

    Could not disagree more. Thoroughly enjoyed this episode and laughed put loud more than I have in a long time. Peter Davidson ‘ weekend update spot was also a highlight.

  3. topoopon says:

    Funniest in a while, I thought.

  4. Emily says:

    Really? Okay, the “worst” sketches you mentioned were bad. But the rest of the show more than made up for it! This was one of the best episodes in awhile. Michael Keaton was hilarious.

    • Patrick says:

      This was absolutely my thinking. Everything other than the two bad skits was fantastic. To be fair to the writer, the two bad skits were overlong, even by SNL standards, and may well have been the worst skits of the season (excluding Mooney’s dreadful pre-taped bits). But over al it was great.
      And WU was one of the best of the season.

      • fanology says:

        Could not have said it better. My thoughts exactly. Loved Weekend Update. Rewound just to watch the China vs US hash brown joke twice. Yay ‘Merica.

      • Bob Backus says:

        I haven’t watch SNL since the 90’s. I thought there were a few laughs, but if this was the best in a while, I guess I didn’t miss much. As for the dope smoker bit, the cast needs to watch alot of older comedy, it was funny in the 70s and 80s, it really really really old by now.

  5. SNL Openings says:

    I had a few thoughts about this ep as a whole.

    1. Does every show now open with a musical number during the monologue? Feels like that gag’s getting old.
    2. I was really surprised to see them make a joke about the German plane that went down killing all 150 people. It felt really cold.
    3. We get it, Pete. You smoke weed.

    I’m not at all a prude. (The furthest thing from it.) But this ep, as a whole, felt like they were really scraping the bottom of the barrel for jokes. Mostly with the German plane crash thing. A co-pilot locked the door and dove a plane into the ground killing everyone on board. Hard to find humor there. For the first time ever, for this viewer, it really felt like high school kids writing. That surprised me.

    Keaton was fun though.

    • Tracy says:

      They were mocking CNN’s coverage of the plane crash, not the crash.

      • KatsMom says:

        Exactly. The joke wasn’t in the news itself. It was in the way CNN presents news these days in general that’s the joke. They drive a simple story into the ground by reporting on it for weeks on end (plane crash), use ridiculous graphics that add nothing to one’s understanding, and just generally seem like they’re more concerned with being flashy and entertaining than actually reporting the news (performance troupe “explaining” RFRA’s passage in IN). I suspect if SNL Openings turned on CNN, (s)he’d feel the actual coverage was really cold as well because the sketch nailed this one.

  6. Bhud says:

    i live in boston and they didn’t air the ad sketch. In fact they repeated the smart house sketch. i thought i was crazy… please someone tell me im not

    • Wayne says:

      Ok, you’re crazy. I live in Mass as well, I did see both the ad sketch (which was terrible) and the smart house sketch, which was equally as miserable.

    • TD says:

      How is that possible? It’s a live show, and the ad sketch came first, if I remember correctly. The smart house sketch hadn’t even run yet.

  7. Tom says:

    Formula for a good SNL sketch: More Kate McKinnon, less Aidy Bryant

    • Patrick says:

      Less Aidy as the star. As a supporting character, with one good line/joke, she’s fine. But yeah, Kate is a star. She IS what Wigg thought she was.

  8. Tracy says:

    You didn’t comment about what I thought was the funniest sketch of the night – the CNN one. Keaton’s bit was the best, especially as it grew more ridiculous with techno music and dancing. I also really liked the Easter basket and agree – that one took some seriously good acting to pull off.

    • thedemko says:

      I actually thought Keaton was the weakest part of that opening sketch, and kinda worried me about the rest of the episode, as he almost seemed to be phoning in his ‘performance art’ thing. Fortunately, my concerns were unfounded, as Keaton pretty much killed the rest of the episode (yes, even the bad ones). Cecily Strong continues to be one of the highlights of my Saturday nights, and I’m still upset that a) she’s not at the WU desk anymore, and b) that she was totally snubbed at the SNL 40 as ever having existed as a WU anchor.

      Very surprised, coming off his Oscar win, that we didn’t see a single word breathed about Birdman, not even during the monologue. I fully expected some sort of parody or at least, some mention of the Oscar win by SOMEBODY during the night. Nothing.

    • Karen says:

      I agree. The CNN skit was the best!

  9. Mr. Tran K says:

    I give the Michael Keaton episode of SNL a B but the opening monologue was great in my opinion (I’M BATMAN). Can’t remember the last time Michael Keaton hosted the show and it’s been a long time coming to come back for number three.

  10. Anita says:

    Norman Reedus on Weekenr Update made my night. What they couldn’t manage a Walking Dead- Beetlegeuse parody? Shame

  11. Rob says:

    You don’t know funny. This episode didn’t have a really weak sketch in it. For one, the monologue was one of the first in a while that was truly funny as opposed to just mildly entertaining. The majority of the remaining sketches played off of the hosts’s quirky comedic style perfectly.

  12. Simon says:

    It’s funny. This article lists the inventors sketch as the worst while on another entertainment website listed it as best. Which comes to my point of different people find different things funny. Instead of posting best and worst why don’t these SNL recaps just post it as the writers personal fave and most disliked. It’s preference. It seems every Sunday I read these SNL recaps and find its all negative. And yes I agree a lot of the the sketches can be poor or even terrible but it’s not all bad.

  13. Eli says:

    I would also put the CNN sketch as one of the best.

  14. TD says:

    Wasn’t there also a Christmas sketch like the weird Easter basket/Halloween candy sketch somewhere along the line? Maybe I’m just imagining it.

  15. veronica says:

    best ep of the season (obvs minus the 40th)! cnn was my favorite skit of the season. update was actually funny this week too!

  16. bomatdaman says:

    The head of SNL should be FIRED over deciding to air the plane crash skit. Regardless of who they were making fun of, it demonstrates poor judgment and SNL’s desperation to get attention. The show is 20 years past its prime; take it off the air.

  17. annoying Stacy says:

    Great episode!! Best I have seen in awhile. Beast monologue in the longest longest time

  18. Tamara says:

    Loved the CNN spoof, and am always happy to see the return of Jebediah.”Neeeeeext!” He had some of the best zingers of the night.

  19. Chris says:

    The CNN was the best. Hilary Clinton as a cat? Gold.

  20. thedemko says:

    Did anyone else expect some sort of Birdman mention, at least, if not a full-on parody? Actually, doing a ‘walking around the set’ bit, with someone doing their impression of Keaton’s Batman, spouting off ridiculous things, might have been a fun alternative to the monologue they went with. I thought that monologue was fine, but I feel like it could have packed a bigger punch, considering Keaton’s recent Oscar win.